How To Request Professional References The Right Way

The concept of social proof is not only critical in marketing but employment. Recruiters and potential employers are required to prove that they can validate the facts on your resume, and your referees are the best source of information. Prospective employers are not only interested in your qualification and experience as detailed on your resume. Still, they are interested in your character, work ethic, and overall suitability for the job posting.

Thus, choosing and requesting the proper reference is not a great way to proof-fact your details, but to provide the extra assurance to potential employers that you are the most suitable candidate.

Thus, how can you ask for references the right way?

1) Ask For A Reference From The Right People

Who is the right person to be your referee? Your high school teacher, best friend, distant cousin, or former supervisor whom you haven’t talked to in the last ten years? The ideal referee should have been an individual who can attest to your skills, experience, or abilities in the job posting. Some of the perfect referees can be:

  • Former employer: Having a former employer as your referee gives your employers an insight into your work ethic, character, ability to adapt to change, and how well you collaborate in a team.
  • Supervisor: If you work in a large organization, a supervisor can be a great referee.
  • Advisor: If you just completed your bachelor’s or master, and worked on a project that might be suitable for the job posting, your academic advisor can provide more insights into your project.
  • Lecturer: As a recent graduate with no job experience, your college lecture is a great referee. Your lecturer can attest to your abilities, character, and any relevant skills to the job posting.

After identifying the right referee, talk to them about your intention to put them as a referee. Why is this important? While no one hardly says no, it is crucial to know their availability and willingness. Your supervisor might be planning to leave the country, or they might have changed their contact details. Thus, other than requesting them to be your referee, you can ask for their contact details.

2) Notify Your Referee

After choosing your referee, notify them via email or coffee. Listing someone as a referee without their knowledge can work against you. Remember, two crucial questions you should answer before choosing a referee are:

  • Will they provide positive feedback about your collaboration, project, or working together?
  • Do they know you personally?

To answer these questions, you must notify the referee. Your objective is to avoid a situation where the recruiter contacts the referee, and your referee cannot answer some basic questions about your skills and abilities. Also, remember, the employer might require the referee to answer the question, fill out forms, or speak to someone from human resources. Since these tasks take time, it is polite to notify your referee beforehand.

3) Provide Background Information

While you might have been your lecturers’ favorite student, they might have been teaching 100 students in one class. Thus, it might be difficult for your referee to remember all the details about your abilities.

Thus, provide the following background details to your chosen referee:

  • The job type and title: Tell your referee a little about the job you are applying for. Describe the position, mention the job title, and your everyday duties if possible.
  • Employer: Unless you are drafting a resume to apply for any job vacancy, provide the referee with the details of the potential employer. This way, the referee can research the company to know the best way to vouch for you. If you do not have an employer in mind, you can mention the industry.
  • Type of feedback required: If you know the hiring manager’s questions or the communication channel to be used, you can share it with the referee. For instance, if the employer mentions that they will call your referee during the interview, you can share details like the day and time of the call with the referee. In addition, general information like the skills required for the job, qualification, experience, and knowledge could help the referee vouch for you.

4) Keep In Touch With Your Referee

Your referee needs to be updated to continue giving a great reference, thus keep them updated. Did you get the job? Have you been promoted? Are you changing employers or joining a new industry? Your referee should know these details. Further, keeping in touch shows that you are interested in a genuine relationship with your referee, not just to get a job.

Thus, while asking for a reference, ensure you follow these ideas to get a reference to help you get your dream job.

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